Medical tourism to form a promising component of private healthcare in Sri Lanka: Hemas Hospitals

Leading private healthcare provider, Hemas Hospitals is expecting the medical industry and wellness tourism industry to be a promising component of Sri Lanka’s healthcare portfolio, going forward and in the post Covid-19 era. “The industry could grow exponentially when packaged together with other wellness offerings of yoga, ayurveda, hela-wedakama, to help patients recover from post medical procedures, while experiencing the value offering of our island”, the statement further elaborated. 

“Although medical tourism is still  nascent in Sri Lanka, it has the potential to become a promising part of tourism in our country, given the remarkable management in mitigating the spread of Covid-19, by the Government of Sri Lanka together with health authorities, armed forces and other key stakeholders” stated Dr Lakith Peiris, Managing Director of Hemas Hospitals.

In recognition of this and given the long-standing relationship in healthcare that the Government of Seychelles has with the Hemas Hospitals multi-chain, 24 critical patients along with 11 accompanying relatives arrived in Sri Lanka from Seychelles for various medical treatments. The procedures range from coronary angiography and angioplasty, tetralogy fallout corrective surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, retinal detachment repair and many other high end surgery and interventions. Hemas Hospitals has evolved as a preferred medical destination for citizens of Seychelles.

Last year Hemas Hospitals opened a state of the art laboratory in Mahe, Seychelles, making it the first Sri Lankan hospital multi-chain to offer lab services overseas. The government health authorities of Seychelles have been sending all their high-end laboratory tests samples to Hemas Hospitals for processing, the only hospital in Sri Lanka to extend such services to a foreign country.

Over the years, Sri Lanka has emerged the popular medical destination for many Seychellois patients. Two years ago, Hemas Hospitals Thalawathugoda was felicitated with an award from the Government of Seychelles during a function organized by the Seychelles Embassy in Sri Lanka, in recognition of the hospital’s outstanding contribution towards serving the healthcare needs of the citizens of Seychelles.

Dr Peiris went on to note that as the healthcare provider to this group of patients from Seychelles, Hemas Hospitals have taken all necessary steps to follow the procedures, protocols and precautionary measures laid by the Ministry of Health in providing treatment to them. The group who arrived in an air Seychelles chartered flight after being cleared for foreign travel, having done PCR tests in the Seychelles, were  transferred to a hotel in Wadduwa for  paid quarantine designated by the Government of Sri Lanka, under the watchful eye of the Sri Lanka Army and Ministry of Health. The National Operations Centre for Prevention of Covid-19 Outbreak coordinated the transport from the airport to the Wadduwa quarantine center. The group was further subjected to a PCR test upon arrival at the quarantine center and samples extracted by Hemas Hospitals laboratory team, sent for immediate testing. These tests were also confirmed to be negative.

As a precautionary measure, on the 10th day of quarantine, the 35 Seychellois were subjected to another round of PCR tests by the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) which also proved negative.

Following the completion of 14 days of quarantine, the patients were then transferred from the quarantine centre to the two Hemas Hospitals in Thalawatugoda and Wattala adhering to all precautionary protocols by the Ministry of Health. Dr. Peiris further assured that the group of patients were provided treatment adhering to all guidelines by the Health regulators during the entirety of their stay.

According to Hemas Hospitals, currently 8 Seychellois patients and 6 accompanying relatives, have already departed the island after having undergone successful treatment at its hospital chain.

“Sri Lanka is poised to become a preferred medical and wellness travel destination and significantly contribute to the economy given the private healthcare’s initiatives in international accreditation, together with availability of skilled medical professionals, focus on advanced medical technology and delivering care of international standards at a fraction of the international costs.”

This coupled now with Sri Lanka’s proven capability in containing the coronavirus pandemic will help contribute to us showcasing our Country as best in class in medical treatments” stated Dr Peiris.

Speaking on the potential growth of the wellness tourism industry, Dr Peiris noted that the Government has established an advisory committee under the Export Development Board and are working hand in hand with the private healthcare sector to transform Sri Lanka as an emerging healthcare hub in the region. “As we commend Sri Lanka’s efforts in combatting COVID-19 we believe that with the Government’s support, private hospitals can become a key player to drive medical tourism. We must ready ourselves to take advantage of the opportune moment presented to us in a post-COVID 19 world and adapt to the new normal.” adding that medical value travel could become one of the significant growth drivers for the Country’s economy.